Nov. 11, 2012
RUSTON - When South Carolina and Louisiana Tech meet Monday night at 7 p.m. at the Thomas Assembly Center, the game will be a match-up of more than just two inexperienced yet talented basketball teams.
It will also pit two of the true legends of women's basketball in USC head coach Dawn Staley and LA Tech head coach Teresa Weatherspoon.
Both firey point guards during their playing days in college, internationally and in the WNBA, Staley and Weatherspoon both have resumes full of championships, honors and records that prove their past playing days were no fluke. The similarities between the two women are almost eerie.
Collegiately, Weatherspoon led the Lady Techsters to a pair of NCAA National title games and was named the Wade Trophy winner as the nation's top player in 1988 - the same year she helped LA Tech defeat Auburn to capture the national title. She was a two-time Kodak All-American and was the recipient of the 1988 Honda-Broderick Cup Award for the Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year.
Although Staley doesn't have a national title on her resume, she did lead Virginia to three Final Fours and one national title game appearance while being named the national player of the year in 1991 and 1992. She was a three-time Kodak All-American and was the recipient of the 1992 Honda-Broderick Cup Award for the Collegiate Female Athlete of the Year.
Both Weatherpoon and Staley have also been enshrined in their respective alma mater's Athletic Halls of Fame.
Internationally, they each led Team USA to gold medals - Weatherspoon in the 1988 Olympic games and Staley in the 1996 (Atlanta), 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens) Olympics. Weatherspoon also was a member of the 1992 USA Olympic Team that won bronze in Barcelona, Spain.
During her eight-year WNBA career, Weatherspoon was a five-time All-Star with the New York Liberty and Los Angeles Sparks while leading the Liberty to three championship finals appearances. During her eight-year WNBA career, Staley was a five-time WNBA All-Star with the Charlotte Sting and Houston Comets while leading the Stings to the 2001 championship finals appearance.
Weatherspoon was enshrined into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville in 2010 while Staley was a member of the 2012 Class this past summer.
Thus, basketball fans will have the opportunity Monday night to watch two of the greatest players in the history of women's basketball coach against each other at the Thomas Assembly Center when LA Tech hosts South Carolina at 7 p.m.